Vertical farming company Oishii nets $50m Series A

Oishii, a vertical farming company, has secured $50 million in Series A funding.

Oishii, a vertical farming company, has secured $50 million in Series A funding. SPARX led the round with participation from other investors that included Sony Innovation Fund, PKSHA Technology and Social Starts.

PRESS RELEASE

NEW JERSEY – March 11, 2021 – Oishii, the produce company behind the world’s largest indoor vertical strawberry farm, announced the closing of $50 million in Series A funding led by SPARX Group’s Mirai Creation Fund II — a fund established by Toyota Motor Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and SPARX. Existing investors include Sony Innovation Fund, PKSHA Technology, Social Starts, and several prominent angel investors.

Oishii has attracted the attention of the investment community due to its innovative, visionary approach as the only vertical farming company to crack the code on pollinated produce, considered to be the most sophisticated crops to grow because of their long cultivation cycles. Oishii perfected the strawberry — the first company to do so at a commercial scale — and will expand quickly into other fruits and vegetables as they continue to reimagine farming.

As a rapidly growing business, Oishii will use the funds to open vertical strawberry farms in new markets, expand the footprint of its flagship farm outside of Manhattan, and continue to invest in research and development to transform the future of agriculture.

“Our mission is to change the way we grow food. We set out to deliver exceptionally delicious and sustainable produce,” said Oishii CEO Hiroki Koga. “We started with the strawberry — a fruit that routinely tops the dirty dozen of most pesticide-riddled crops — as it has long been considered the ‘holy grail’ of vertical farming. We aim to be the largest strawberry producer in the world, and this capital allows us to bring the best-tasting, healthiest berry to everyone. From there, we’ll quickly expand into new fruits and produce.”
Harmoniously marrying nature with technology, Oishii is known for its innovative farming techniques that have perfected the strawberry. Once thought to be impossible in vertical farming, Oishii’s proprietary and first-of-its-kind pollination method is conducted naturally with bees.

The company’s smart vertical farms rely on zero pesticides and produce perfectly ripe, delicious fruit year-round — regardless of season. Compared to traditional agriculture, the farms are built to use significantly less land and water.

Oishii’s farmers are trained in strawberry cultivation methods thoughtfully developed over the course of decades in the foothills of Japan, seamlessly working alongside precision automation driven by AI and machine learning. In addition to being hyper locally grown, clean, fresh, and healthy, Oishii’s berries are also carbon neutral.

“Oishii is the farm of the future,” said SPARX Group Co. President and Group CEO Shuhei Abe. “The cultivation and pollination techniques the company has developed set them well apart from the industry, positioning Oishii to quickly revolutionize agriculture as we know it.”

Oishii first introduced its Omakase Berry in 2018 — an artisanal Japanese varietal, unique for its sweetness, aroma, and creamy texture — marking the first time the fruit was ever grown in the United States. The berry quickly caught the attention of Michelin-starred chefs, including the culinary greats behind Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Masa, Atera, Atomix, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Dominique Ansel Bakery, Café Kitsuné, and Murray’s Cheese.

The company is currently in development on additional strawberry varietals and other types of produce, such as tomatoes, melons, and peppers, to bring to market.

Oishii’s Omakase Berry is currently available at oishii.com/shop, in stores at retail partner Eli’s Market, as well as served by some of the most renowned chefs in New York.
The company has raised a total of $55 million since its founding in 2016.

About Oishii
Oishii (“delicious” in Japanese) is an innovative produce company transforming agriculture through vertical farming. The company is behind the world’s largest indoor vertical strawberry farm. Harmoniously marrying nature with technology, Oishii has recreated the elements—rain, air, heat, light, and nourishment—to preserve and embrace nature’s finest for the perfect fruit every time, all year round. Oishii is known for their Omakase Berry, a special Japanese strawberry variety grown pesticide-free in the company’s flagship vertical farm in Kearny, New Jersey. Founded in 2016, Oishii’s investors include SPARX Group, Sony Innovation Fund, PKSHA Technology, and Social Starts. For more information, visit www.oishii.com.